Thursday, December 30, 2010

Southern Girl Punch

Tennessee Williams might be jealous not to own the rights to Trisha Bowler’s Southern Gothic beginning. Her mother, an Arkansas beauty of modest means, marries the progeny of a landed southern family. The new wife is soon pregnant. America enters WWII and he is drafted. The soldier lives, but his injuries kept him confined to VA care until his death in 1992.


Left with sole responsibility for Trisha, mother and daughter drove west to the land of opportunity: California. Her mom became a successful businessperson while Trisha boarded at the Parnell Preparatory School for Girls in Whittier.

Reaching high school hungry for a “normal” family life, Trisha got her mom to agree to live together full time and send her to public school. During her tenure at John Robert Powers School of Modeling, the tall beauty caught the eye of Revlon- who made her a red head. She also caught the eye of John Bowler Jr., who transferred from private school to Whittier High to be closer to Trisha.

Wed on Ground Hogs Day 1963, Trisha began building her grand dream. “All I ever wanted was to be a wife and mother. Now with four grown sons, “There were years when (with mother living here) I cooked for seven… I loved that.”

Now you can take a girl out of the south, but you cannot take the south out of the girl. True to her southern heritage (and her accent), the holidays are a joyful season in the Bowler household. As she notes, “Family comes home…”

One specialty is Trisha’s famous Southern Comfort Punch: taste once, remember always tradition.

SOUTHERN COMFORT PUNCH
Ahead of time- Arrange designated driver for any guests who might show up without one. Then-
  • Maraschino Cherries- Freeze a bottle full in a ring shaped mold filled with water.
  • Lemon and lime – Some time before serving - slice and remove seeds from enough citrus to go around your serving bowl. Set aside in refrigerator.

When guests are about to arrive, pour these in a punchbowl:

  • 1/2 tall bottle Southern Comfort
  • 1-12 oz can frozen orange juice
  • ½- 12 oz can frozen pink lemonade
  • 1-2 liter bottle 7Up
  • 1-tbslp sugar (or equivalent substitute)
Stir the punch to blend. Unmold the ice ring to set float on top of punch.

Decorate the shoreline between the island of ice and the bowl by floating the citrus rings. Says council member Carol Herrera, this is “Absolutely delicious. Have one and you’ll go back for more.”

Happy New Year Everyone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Most Important Bank

On Christmas Eve , a bottle of  1995 Chateau Montrose Saint Estephe wine appeared on the counter.

65% Cabernet, 25% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the wine is dark as midnight on a moonless night.

This is an intelligent wine determined to seduce you. Like a good lover, it doesn't rush. It is content to luxuriate in the glass, tempting your tongue as it engages in tasty foreplay. Smooth cherry tones bide their time beneath rich tannins, peaking out every now and again, like lace lingerie from under a velvet gown.

If you are ever so fortunate to spend a night with this beauty- Let her breathe in the fresh air before wetting the tongue. The longer you resist, the fuller the experience.

I don't expect to have this wine again. Yet I shall treasure the memory of the time I spent with it.  In a glass, I tasted all the singular moments in life that never come back- yet are good enough to stand on their own, fondly and forever in the most important bank we ever deal with. The memory bank.


 
At this writing, different vintages of this wine is in stock at The Old and Rare Wine Company 1518 Harvard Street, #6, Santa Monica CA 90404 phone 310-829-5390. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas- Happy New Year- Three Kings Day

The bar is stocked. Port, Madeira and Puerto Rican Rum to bake with. Brandy is at the ready for the last "jerky" batch tomorrow.

The guard of Christmas scents is changing from  greenery- bay leaf wreath, rosemary topiary trees and vases filled with pine branches- to the holiday cooking.

Early this morning steam from the  brine seasonings wafted freely. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla baking now perfume the air. Before our 3 days of family feasting are done, I will have contributed trays of candy and desserts including nut brittle, hazelnut torte, ginger cake and tiramisu.


The 12 Days of Christmas are our private time. With care, 2010 is tucked away in readiness to embrace 2011.

I will end 2010 with a solitary tradition. The fireplace will be lit. On scraps of paper any unhappiness is written to be fed to the flames. Regret's power is symbolically  reduced to ashes. My head bowed in prayer, a benediction is wished for those who have blessed my life.

Until we meet again, be it in the coming year or in the next life, I wish you peace and prosperity.

As this is the custom of my faith, this I ask in the name of my Lord Jesus, Christ. Amen

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Finer Things


"Life is not a beginning or an end. Life is a process and to work so hard and ignore all the finer things along the way is missing the whole point."
 Gail Greco 

Roger's Gardens Cabinet top display 2008
 The rain fell steady overnight. The potted plants were pulled out from under eaves that angels may wash away the salts deposited by city water. The wind chimes a delightful alarm. A So Cal girl my entire life, I love rain. It sounds and smells of vacation. Light a pine scented candle and I would see the holidays even if I were blind.

Finer things reside not just in the homes of rich people or museums. Some quick tips on where to open your eyes-    


Get Lost. Take a side road. Getting off  the 10 Freeway to take a scenic route to the CCAA Museum of Art this cross signaled me to come take its picture on the way home. Glitter and glamour have their place, but the authentic beauty of local products ingeniously employed deserve our attention. 

The Lords House front
Don't be afraid to dive in the dumpster. An abandoned table, rescued by oldest son, Trevor found its way to my husbands workshop.
Birdseye maple field set with birds of ebony, Spanish cedar and black walnut
Nothing is finer than a hobby that takes your mind on a vacation when it is impossible for your body to slip away. An engineer by profession- this woodworking hobby morphs stressed-out Gerry merry as Santa.  My theory is that this is the truth behind giving of your time and talents. Snippets of time with woodworking freshen his mind, making him more productive and happier than any couch potato routine.
Panel 1 of 3
Function doesn't have to be dull. A little wind tunnel by the barbecue is being diverted by a very simple stained glass insert. Sitting near the ground and only 11 inches wide- the triptych design is being fitted in the opening as the panels are finished. In the future: if one panel needs a repair, it will be easy as easy to fix as store bought pie. 


Addiction can be good when it is devoted to developing your level of competency. When the current issue of Cooks Illustrated arrives, I'm like a general with a new weapons system. My arsenal of recipes is strong. Still, I find the simple precision written by "America's Test Kitchen" refreshing and full of useful tips.


 Which brings us to The Recipe.  My Hazelnut Torte is in the family hall of fame.Voted there as a revelation in our search for gluten free holiday desserts. First published on this blog on Christmas, 2008, with so many new  readers, this is a classic worth repeating.

From our house to yours- Merry Christmas.  

Gail Greco quote from "Secrets of Entertaining"  A Threeforks book first published in 1989
The Lords House is located at 9284 Baseline Rd, Alta Loma, CA 91701
ph 909 987-0233

Friday, December 17, 2010

Philosophy Friday- On Being a Writer


Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
~William Wordsworth




Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne



When a man is in doubt about this or that in his writing, it will often guide him if he asks himself how it will tell a hundred years hence. 


 ~Samuel Butler


The ablest writer is only a gardener first, and then a cook:  his tasks are, carefully to select and cultivate his strongest and most nutritive thoughts; and when they are ripe, to dress them, wholesomely, and yet so that they may have a relish. 

 ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare,
Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827
"When did you start writing?"
That is the cocktail party question which stares down every writer.

Ask me and I will confess- at my mother's first school conference, my teacher told my mother she should stop teaching me to write.
So, while I am not quite to my 56th birthday- a half century of writing is under my belt.
In these decades I have learned something which benefits all people in any profession.  Edit your life and your possessions on a regular basis. Then your spirit will be free from being dragged down by clutter. Organize so you can find what you looking for when you need it. For writers, we have to keep track of our heart.
Between now and Three Kings Day, my professional schedule is severely pared back on purpose. This year, there are 2 less place settings at our holiday table. The bitter and sweet of this drives a desire to keep this time of year sacred with more care than ever. 
What do you do to prepare for the honored guest which will come to visit, whether or not we are ready: The New Year.

                                           Images by Gene Sasse. Used with permission

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Garden Blooming Blog Day Dec 2010

Merry Christmas!  May your season be full of flowers.

In Diamond Bar, we are blessed to able to enjoy the flowers even in the deadest of winter.




A dark pink carpet rose is just so lovely against the clear blue winter sky. Which don't hate me- the lows have been in the 50's and highs touching the 80 degree mark.  If you live in the Tundra- trust me- it is human to want what you can't have. We want snow. Fess up- you want our warm winters.



Now- eat your heart out. The strawberries next to the spa are waiting for us to put on our swimsuits and pick our snack.



As the sun goes down- the color in the sky flows like hot lava. You don't need a compass to know which direction is west. Just follow your heart. 


For me, the geography of place lead me to create not a school figure scholastically correct garden. My garden is more about a welcoming spirit. Here butterflies float by, hummingbirds sit around watching what trouble the puppies will get into next. 

Sometimes the food chain gets a bit out of control. It doesn't matter, this garden is my heart and it is home.

Blessings and Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Be Home For Christmas

Merry Christmas!

The count down is on.  Time to get those cards in the mail. This year I selected the Poinsettia from the flower portrait series by Gene Sasse. At this writing there is a basket available at the CCAA Museum of Art. Sold with white envelopes- I took mine up the decorative notch by inserting in green 5 x7's from the  Paper Source . One of my favorite stationary boutiques, there are 13 locations just in California.






I am not fond of hand held video camera production values. But there is an exception to every rule and you simply must click on the video to hear baritone Dave Britton sing, "Ill Be Home for Christmas." It may be the best 4 minutes and 4 seconds of your holiday season. 

Initially forwarded by Judy Duvall- I was number 33 to view- His voice is so clear- so strong- think Robert Goulet  in Camelot  or Davis Gaines in Phantom of the Opera - I wept.

Now I switch to what all writer's do when they get a hot lead. I am on the hunt. So far I have found there are at least 3 singers in the US sharing the name. Once the biographical information on this wonder of nature talent is vetted- I will write more. For that- You can count on me.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Seasoned Greetings Awash with Wine

Auld Lang Santa Bottles+
No time or money to sip and shop in Napa Valley? No problem. Santa is bringing Napa to just the other side of the "Orange Curtain" County Line with FREE Wine tastings!

Mark your calendars to take your unfinished holiday shopping list to South Coast Plaza. Premier winemakers are bringing luscious  libations to try before you buy at one of my favorite shops, NapaStyle. Here's the schedule, hot off the press from store manager James Franklin

Friday, December 17th: From 4-7

Vellum Wine Craft. With a name like that, Jeff Mathy must be serving smooth vintages

'07& '08 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Saturday, December18th: From 1-4

Darm’s Lane

Tricia Bump Davis will be available to explain the
’07 Cabernet Sauvignon
’09 Chardonnay





Sunday, December 19th From 1-4
(The Italian wine specialist) Mission Wine Company's founder Ciro Cirillo will be showing off these fine wines 
’06 IL Burchino “Super Tuscan”
’09 Casal Moro
’09 Col Reale

Monday, December 20th from 1-4

Prager Port Works
Petite Sirah Port
Aria White Port
Noble Companion Tawny Port

To understand the devotion to enjoying their work, you simply Must click on the Prager Port Works Prager Port Works web site.

The Tawny Port inspired me to get in the kitchen and bake a gingerbread cake. While it was cooking, a vintage cookbook was pulled off the shelf to remind me how to candy citrus peel. Strip the peel from citrus, scraping away the pith. Drop stripped strips into  boiling water for 15 minutes. Rinse, repeat. The bitters are gone,  leaving you with these lithe little bits of intense citrus flavor. A simple sugar syrup got very lucky. A package of opened walnut pieces was in the frig with nothing else to do. About a half hour later, the nuts and bright peels of  one each tangerine, orange and lemon were lifted to a rack to dry into scatterings for atop a dollop of whipped cream on the cake.  Candy fruit once and understand what the grocery store sells is just jerkified junk.

 Tuesday, December 21st From 12-4

B Cellars- Jennifer Hallock will be on hand to represent the foodie focused winemaker with their worthy Napa Blends. These are professional wines not hindered by cloying names. Instead, they are referred to by their style/sweetness number. If you are new to matching food with wine- this is the winery to get to know.

#23
#24
#25
#26

Holiday Hint: Have friends and neighbors you want to give something more than a card to, but out of time and not much money? One of my favorite special gifts is a food ingredient- one with special twist that raises from ordinary to extraordinary. Drop it in a gift bag with a personal recipe paired with it. NapaStyle has a great collection of seasoned salts to play in the kitchen with. 


Don't you just adore the Napastyle catalog description of  the bottles pictured on top.... "Santa Claus artwork on red and green glass, these festive little bottles look great lining a console, mantel or sunny windowsill. Fill them with hand soap as a wonderful gift, a single poinsettia or leave them corked as standalone d├ęcor." Having put a new ornament on the Christmas tree for every member of the family for 34 years- this is one terrific change of pace. Out of stock online- they are IN STOCK in COSTA MESA. If you hurry!


Brussels in Bloom Story

Judy Duvall sent the "Brussels in Bloom" pic. One thing about old Europe- I'm glad they are more into high maintenance gardening than we are in California. She also sent over a GREAT idea for those of us who would rather not be on the road past midnight local time, when the parties and bars let out on New Years Eve. An anglophile active in Welsh choirs, her group of friends coordinate a celebration with the UK's midnight, which is 4 pm local time.


With 'Snookie'  scheduled to be dropped in a ball at Times Square in New York- being tucked in bed and asleep before that spectacle of bad taste happens sounds like the right thing to do.

Image by Gerry Plunk
 If the sunset is like tonight. What entertainment could possibly top this thrill?

NapaStyle South Coast Plaza


3333 Bear St.


Costa Mesa, CA


(714) 825-0445




Friday, December 10, 2010

3 Favorite Quotes of Ling Ling Chang

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.


-Eleanor Roosevelt
Ling Ling Chang Today

Beautiful. Brainy. City of Diamond Bar  Councilwoman. Newly elected Mayor Pro Tem. President and CEO of the Youth Science Center.

Ling Ling Chang is a woman used to breaking barriers, as she did when she was elected the first woman to the Walnut Valley Water District. But who is she really? As humble as she is driven, she is not someone who would describe herself as an over-achiever. But most everyone else will.

Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson



l-r Andrew Wong, Jody Roberto, Ling Ling Chang, then Assemblyman Bob Huff accepting a check for the Diamond Bar Community Center from Matt Rezvani of British Petroleum

In 2006, California Senator Robert S Huff  named Ling as Woman of the Year .  Today he is no less impressed. He describes Ling as "Energetic, and loves to dig deep into issues. She has many areas of interest and expertise. Her resume is one of the most extensive I've seen. She doesn't mind championing issues even if she is in the minority if she believes in it."

Ling Ling's story is the quintessential American story, the Diamond Bar version. A dentist in Taiwan, her parents hungered to live the American Dream. Ahead of his family, he attended USC to qualify his credentials in the US. A year later, he sent for his wife and young family when Ling was only 3. First settling in Walnut,  by the time Ling was 10 the family roots were firmly planted in Diamond Bar.  

From a tender age she has observed the community demographics change from 12 % Asian then to 51% now. Trilingual, she credits Diamond Bar's avoiding the conflicts of other communities when such a large shift occurs because of the "welcoming spirit" here.

Ling's hero is her grandfather. He was an opthamologist charged by the World Health Organization to eradicate trachomia ( a leading cause of blindness and visual impairment) in Asia. This instilled in the little girl a desire to be like her grandfather, "To make a difference."


Married to  Andrew Wong (attorney and Pomona Unified School District board member), she is in her own right a dynamic half of one of Diamond Bar's most influential couples.  They met volunteering for the Diamond Bar Community Foundation. The Friends of the Library. The Chamber of Commerce. Cautious by nature, Andrew took his time before he offered Ling Ling the bling bling):- Theirs was one of the most conspicuously public courtships of Inland Valley. One that no one bet against.
(l-r) Andrew Wong, Jody Roberto and Ling Ling Chang
image courtesy of Laura Kobzeff

Ling reports that being married elected public officials is in general, "perfect". A perceived  lack of attention by an office holder leads many a spouse of an elected official to feel neglected. However, with their extensive and shared record of community service, "Being on the same page," brings with it an understanding and acceptance. 

A self described science geek, absorbing data, "To analyze evidence and (move towards) action." are the personal qualities that propel her work.  Having begun her biology studies in California, she is continuing her formal education with studies in environmental issues through Harvard.

Ever the optimist, the youthful appearing mover and shaker believes that even when things don't go as hoped for, life follows an evolutionary path. "You learn from your experiences."

Her experiences include something in the Angeles forest which is definitely not going to make my bucket list of things to do in life. Bungee jumping, 

Which leads us to her third "favorite" quote.  

Well-behaved women rarely make history

-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich




Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Timeless Art in Time For the Holidays


"The collected story of Milford Zornes is not the hard fact of history or the cold sculpted marble of mythology. It is the flesh and beating heart of living memory."
-Brian Dale Bywater
"On the Diamond Bar"  by Milford Zornes.
To write about art is the attempt to define the undefinable. Art is formed to reach past roads our minds block. Art cultivates the human heart, enriching our souls and understanding in a way facts alone cannot.

There is an elemental simplicity in the watercolors of the late Milford Zornes and his students which is timeless by design.


"Brea Canyon" by Bill Anderson
The heart of any child of Diamond Bar will be strummed by these first 2 images. The Brahma feedlot is a nod south of  where the 57 freeway freeway casts cool shadow over Brea Canyon Road in the summertime.  A few twist and turns further down the canyon- opposite where Tonner Canyon splits off, the oil towers guard the invisible curtain portending to be a cultural dam between Orange and Los Angeles Counties. As is often the case where subterranean pockets of oil sit and wait through millennium , an earthquake fault razors across, occasionally shaking off  human misconception that we are in charge.  

There was a time in the 1960's that the only way into Diamond Bar from Whittier was to take this winding canyon road. When my kindergarten teacher moved to Diamond Bar in the early days of "sort of" planned development, it was all the talk. It was largely viewed as crazy to move to a sleepy hollow served by a 2 lane road which was treacherous when it rained.

One successful civic incorporation, 2 freeways and 58,730 people later, the cattle ranch born of a Spanish land grant is grown up. Much has changed. But not Brea Canyon Road. When things get busy and a time machine with a re-wind is required, this ever so slightly below grade byway resets the spirit as only a walk back in time can do.

Now departed, we are fortunate Zornes shared his talent with a cadre of like-minded artists.

 
Joanna Mersereau
 Riverside artist Joanna Mersereau understands her good fortune that Zornes was her mentor.Upon college graduation, her young family gladly traded Illinois winters for the mild climate where UC Riverside offered her husband a $4,000 salary. In 1955, this was a " vast amount of money. " He put his horticulture degree to use in their new citrus experiment while Joanna was employed to try to keep what college students are suspected of doing somewhat under control.

"The Source" by Joanna Mersereau
As an artist, Zornes encouraged Joanna to "keep it simple". Over time, she developed a style she describes as "Narrative structuralism". Having majored in Industrial Design, math is a strength she builds upon through each layer of every work. Vibrant color light up the abstract based designs, queueing the viewer's imagination, unleashing the story with fluidity.
"The Forest Has Eyes" by Joanna Mersereau
The Art of Milford Zornes: Friendships and Inspiration* is produced by Gene Sasse in conjunction with the CCAA Museum of Art show by the same name. Just in time for the holidays the commemorative book will be available for autographing by the author and featured artist/colleagues of Zornes this Sunday from 2-4. The show is FREE and open to the public.
$23.95
This  special exhibition this Sunday December  12th is from 2-4 PM  at the CCAA Museum of Art. The Museum is at the North Wing of the Joseph Filippi Winery, 12467 Baseline Road, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739.  Additional artwork and jewelry also available for purchase then. 

For more information contact the museum at 909-463-3733

Joanna Mersereau is an award winning signature member of both the American Watercolor Society and Watercolor West. Her home and studio/gallery is in Riverside, California where she lives with a 30-year-old boa named "Rosie."

All images by Gene Sasse. Used with permission. His father built the first structure for Diamond Bar. A custom builder, he built the first sales office.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Savorings-Napa Styling

"The simplest things in the world make for great entertaining."
-Michael Chiarello
Little brother Kevin watches over Michael signing his latest book
The Napa lifestyle Michael Chiarello devotees follow is inspirational, rather than aspirational. Visual presentation and flavor are the intense notes from which most  recipe writers exclusively compose. Step into the pages of any Chiarello venture and find yourself in the confluence where all the senses are stirred and roused.

Michael advises, "Have a relationship with food. (It should be) visceral with the entire body... heart and mind...Taste with your fingers. " It isn't just what you serve, but how. " 

Breadboards as usable art

At the Costa Mesa book signing  for his latest cookbook Bottega are  breadboards laminated from what appear to be purple heart, walnut and maple boards- a display of how merchant-Michael honors the precept.

 Back at the bar, brother Kevin's eyes rolled back with pleasure when in Michael's rare cooking demonstration he held up a jar of emollient cherry red Silafunghi chili sauce. Little brother betrayed the emotional power of food as he formed the words of how the fiery pepper flakes lubricated  in olive oil as "Better than life itself." While Michael described the sauce as "Calabria catsup"- be warned- this stuff is Kim Kardashian hot. As in smokin'. Now, go ahead. Fall ridiculously in lust with the condiment.




Jim Borsack, Principal of B Cellars
Bartender duties for the evening were generously performed by Jim  Borsack. He is justifiably proud of the two wines featured at the NapaStyle tasting. The wines are called logically by the "brix"- a term aficionados recognize as wine style based on sugar content. 

Blend 23 is an unconventionally racy blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and  Viognier that begs to be served with spicy Asian food, particularly shellfish. With a distinctive pucker- keep this one away from the dessert.

Blend 24 is a Super Tuscan style with a peppery style that queued the aha moment. B Cellar wines are designed to be served with food. A passionate cook, Jim has prepared "way north of 7,000 recipes." To reinforce the point, on the company Internet site you can go to recipes to find food and wine pairings.

First with partner  Duffy Keys and later when joined by one of the world's top winemakers Kirk Venge, the trio is committed to producing, " exceptional artisan wines, season after season, by employing a multi-vineyard strategy' and, " by blending wines from mutually complementary varietals.

From what I tasted- the goal has been reached.
 
Michael signing a Christmas present on my behalf












There is something about wine that encourages shopping. Which is why the Christmas list came with me. Since some of the people reading this will receive- my lips are sealed. Just like they are about the big secret Kevin prematurely announced, a secret I pledge to honor):- When Chiarello fans find out- remember you didn't hear it here FIRST!  
 Just when I thought the evening could not get better, store manager James Franklin pours a glass of Prager 'Nobel Companion' Tawny Port.  Remember the Savage Garden song "I knew I Loved You" with lyrics proclaiming, "I see my future in an instant...  I think I dreamed you into life" This port are those lines come to life. In a beverage, this "dessert in a glass" I could see the future. It is good. Very,very good.

* Food & Wine Magazines 2005 honoree as “One of the Top 20 New Winemakers in the World” 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Do You See What I See?

Green Agave Poster by Debra Lee Baldwin
Beauty knows no season. But the holiday season: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and Three Kings Days exist to shamelessly share.


Photojournalist and author of two best-selling books: Designing with Succulents and Succulent Container Gardens Debra Lee Baldwin  has a new Internet Store featuring her artwork.


5 weeks after foot surgery I am able to walk the garden. Peering through the lanky Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha for you Latin lovers) were the blue halos of  Agapanthus africanus 'Peter Pan Blue'. 


 One of the most simply uplifting Christmas Carols was written against the darkly complex backdrop of  the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker reversed roles as composer/ lyricist to give birth to "Do You Hear What I Hear?"  On November 22nd 1963 President Kennedy was assassinated at virtually the same time Bing Crosby recorded the version on the day's play list here.

If you haven't turned on your holiday music- what are you waiting for?



Paper Whites (Narcissus tazetta) spritz the air with their fragrance. From a half dozen bulbs they have multiplied. Wherever they have multiplied: there are no gopher mounds erupting like a teenager in need of a dermatologist.

The  determinedly digging rodent's  have been camping out where the traditional vegetable plot lays dormant. Clearly, they enjoyed my absence-(:

The planned  garden renovation now includes ringing this  area with the daffodil relatives. The bulbs will provide an invisible subterranean fence. Then next year, instead of seeing gopher mounds- delightful little clumps of scented bouquets will be blossoming.

Top 3 images by Debra Lee Baldwin. Used with permission.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Finish in Style



Sunset by Gene Sasse

The emotional power of  formless forever stills the mind. The glorious beauty in Southern California sunset wrapped days surely have seduced many a snowbird to stay.

December is officially underway. Clear just a few days ago, my desk is somewhere under the disheveled pile of paper- which apparently while my attention was turned to deadlines and decorations cloned itself onto the credenza . My mind screams, "Enough!"  This is the last month of the year. Finish in style.

 Like the first and last note of the orchestra, December and January are the most important notes to play cleanly. Now is the time to prepare for the last note of the year- which ironically sets up the first note of the year to follow.

Christmas Tin ready to be sent to soldier or sailor
The year "we" sent out 600 Christmas Cards was the year, it was clearly time to recognize overwhelming equality is fruitless fantasy. Rather than spreading resources filo sheet thin, the Christmas greeting budget was changed to reflect what we hold dearest. The postage saved on minor acquaintances more than  paid for jerky to be sent to loved ones. Candy for children and cookies to anonymous servicemen.

For the last, I must thank Patty Gee. She makes it so easy. I pack some tins full of goodies and she handles the rest. Thank goodness of people who make giving so convenient. I don't think she'll tell on me: this year Albertson's did the baking and helped with the candy):-

There are still Christmas greetings sent by mail. There are people who deserve to be acknowledged.  When the list becomes stressful, listen to the inner voice. Stop. Slow down. Stroll through the garden for equilibrium. Learn lessons of life from the silent voice of the garden: her flora.

Rosa 'Dick Clark'
Sticking your nose in a flower is healthier than sticking it into someone else's business

Rosa 'Our Lady of Guadalupe'

My niece Anka chose this rose. I think of that lovely young lady every time I walk up to these beauties.

Aeonium 'Kiwi'

Writer Debra Lee Baldwin made it easy to fall in love with succulents. I do hope she's at the GWA* event this weekend.
Rosa 'Betty Boop'
I hope that as I age, my beauty holds as well as it has in this rose.  She is finishing in style.


GWA-  Garden Writer's Association.